Qatar’s apex court has upheld the conviction of three Filipinos on espionage charges, Doha News reported.

The Court of Cassation said that it was denying the expats’ appeal, which means the men will have to serve out the sentences handed down last year.

‘In May 2015, the Court of Appeal sentenced Abdullah Yusuf Tan Chua to life imprisonment – a reduction from the death penalty meted out by a lower court in 2014 – and ordered Raphael Alamares and Ronald Ulep to serve up to 15 years in prison. Alamares and Ulep has previously been sentenced to life imprisonment,’ Doha News added.

In a statement , Philippine Ambassador to Qatar Wilfredo C. Santos , said: ‘Although we are saddened by the ruling of the Court of Cassation, this is still a small victory for us given that the earlier ruling was sustained which shortened the sentences imposed on these Overseas Filipinos.

‘The embassy will continue to look after the welfare of these Filipinos and ensure that their rights are protected while we explore alternative avenues on their case.’